While we're only days away from the Big Day, there's still plenty of time to support small businesses and shop local. Today I'm featuring one of my favorites here in Pittsburgh, Healthy Pet Products. I've been a customer at their North Hills location in McCandless Township for many years because I value the knowledgeable and friendly staff and their quality products, not to mention the fun toys and stocking stuffers featured in the store this time of year!
Meet owner Toni Shelaske.
Toni opened the North Hills store in 2008 when she purchased the business from a couple who was as passionate as she is about feeding her dogs all-natural and organic pet food. In 2011 she opened a store in the South Hills in McMurray, PA when she realized that customers were driving from as far as West Virginia and Ohio to not only purchase quality pet food but also to seek her advice and expertise about how to best care for their pets with allergies and other ailments. To meet further customer demand, Toni opened a Cranberry Township location in 2019 and will open a store in Port Charlotte, Florida in 2022.
While she is quick to say that she and her staff are not vets, they have seen and experienced firsthand the benefits of feeding pets all-natural and organic pet food. "My soul's purpose is to educate as many people as I can. We need to be our pet's advocates," Toni said. She and her staff are proud to be part of a movement that is reluctant to choose to medicate their pets as the first step but rather to look at their diet as a starting point.
On a fun note, just last month Toni launched her very own label of dog toys, Toni Unleashed Toys.
So far, the Pittsburgh Pierogi is the best seller! Your dog can also have their very own plush version of the famous Pittsburgh incline, a Pittsburgh bridge (Pittsburgh has 446 of them, more than any other city in the world!) or 412 Pittsburgh. And according to Toni, more fun Pittsburgh-themed designs are in the works.
During my visit, it was so apparent to me that the people who visited the store, many with their dogs, were truly family. The staff knew many, owners and dogs alike, on a first-name basis and gushed over their furry friends.
Finally, I asked Toni what she would like her current and new customers to know about her and her business. "I'm here so pets can live their best and healthiest lives. This is a mission-based business. I have to keep going."
On behalf of all of your happy and trusting clients, we hope that you do, Toni!